TALLADEGA, Ala. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. comes to Talladega 11th in the Chase standings, four points in front of Matt Kenseth and 31 behind Martin Truex Jr. in eighth place, the last transfer position into the Chase’s Eliminator Round.
Though there are far-fetched scenarios that would enable Earnhardt to advance without a victory, a Talladega win on Sunday is by far the most realistic way for Earnhardt to keep his title hopes alive.
Toward that end, Earnhardt has a straightforward plan.
“We’re just going to go out there and practice and work on the car and do what we need to do today,” Earnhardt said on Friday at Talladega. “Qualifying is (Saturday). We’ll try to do as good a job as we can there; and when the race starts, run up front and try to stay toward the lead.
“I think it’s important to be in the lead in the last 50 laps of the race, so we’re going to try to be there.”
Earnhardt also applauded NASCAR’s move to limit the number of possible green-white-checkered-flag finishes to one for Sunday’s race.
“I thought three was a lot,” Earnhardt said. “I still think three is a lot—anywhere at any race. One attempt was kind of the norm, if anybody ever did that in racing in the last 100 years. One attempt seemed to be plenty. And I thought that was a good move for NASCAR, not only considering what happened in Daytona (with Austin Dillon’s wreck in July), but just one attempt.
“We want to finish under green. We should hopefully finish under green without the opportunity of a green-white-checkered. But if there is a problem where we have to run extra laps, they’ll be one attempt, and that should satisfy not only the fans, but the drivers and everybody involved.”